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Fort Worth Flashback: Streetcars began scooting around Cowtown in 1876

Posted Feb. 6, 2012

Streetcar on Main Street

The first streetcar in Fort Worth rolled down Main Street on Christmas Day 1876, delivering passengers from the courthouse to the T&P Depot about a mile away.

In 1888, a deal was struck to begin electrifying certain lines in Fort Worth. The following year saw the first electric streetcars in the Southwest. Electric streetcars, sometimes called trolleys, had replaced the mule-drawn cars by 1890.

By the time of electrification, there were as many as 20 railway companies competing with the Fort Worth Street Railway Co., including the Main Street and Union Depot Line, the North Fort Worth Belt Line, the Rosedale Street Railway Co. and the Arlington Heights Traction Co.

Eventually, the Fort Worth Street Railway Co. was purchased and renamed the Northern Texas Traction Co., and the successor company began to buy out all the other competing lines in Fort Worth.

This photo, showing Main Street in Fort Worth, was taken in 1925.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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